Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Lowe's Says It Will Stop Selling Deadly Paint Removers

Business
Lowe's Says It Will Stop Selling Deadly Paint Removers
A customer browses through paint stripper options at a Lowe's store in Glen Burnie, Maryland in 2015. Jamie Smith Hopkins / Center for Public Integrity

By Jamie Smith Hopkins

Home-improvement giant Lowe's is phasing out paint-removal products with methylene chloride, responding to petitions in the wake of deaths caused by the chemical.


The company's decision, announced Tuesday, will get the products off store shelves by the end of this year. As their fumes build up in bathrooms, basements and other enclosed areas, they can kill: A Center for Public Integrity investigation in 2015 found that more than 50 people died since 1980 using methylene chloride—often in paint strippers—for work or personal projects.

Since last year, at least four people have been found dead midway through projects in which they used such paint removers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been slow-walking a would-be ban, proposed shortly before President Donald Trump's inauguration. But earlier this month, the agency said it would push forward with a rule targeting the chemical, a turnaround after officials there came under pressure from members of Congress and survivors of recent victims.

Lowe's has faced pressure as well. Relatives of Drew Wynne, 31, who died in October while removing paint from a walk-in refrigerator at his South Carolina coffee business, joined with consumer and environmental groups to press the company to stop selling paint-stripper brands with methylene chloride. Wynne purchased his product from Lowe's, they said. The groups said more than 200,000 people signed petitions asking the company to take action.

Lowe's, which already sells some paint removers without methylene chloride, said it is working with suppliers to get more alternatives on the shelves.

"We care deeply about the health and safety of our customers, and great progress is being made in the development of safer and more effective alternatives," Mike McDermott, Lowe's chief customer officer, said in a prepared statement.

Lowe's said it also plans to stop selling paint removers with another chemical, N-Methylpyrrolidone, that has been linked to miscarriages and other harms to unborn children.

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, an advocacy group that asked Lowe's more than a year ago to take both types of paint strippers off the shelves, said in a statement that the retailer is the first "to take action on this critical consumer and worker safety issue." The group urged other companies to follow suit.

"When facing federal inaction on vital issues facing the American public—some of which are matters of life or death—retailers have a responsibility and an opportunity to do right by their customers," Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families' Mike Schade said in a statement.

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
Woodpecker

Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.

Read More Show Less